Rolling Stone Loses Star Reporter Matt Taibbi

The most recent Rolling Stone item by Matt Taibbi is headlined “The Vampire Squid Strikes Again.” That colorful expression is also sticking to the talented investigative reporter tonight as news breaks that he is leaving the Jann Wenner publication for First Look Media.

On Twitter, New York Times reporter John Schwartz quickly surmised that vanguard journalism funder Pierre Omidyar “likes vampire squid,” while colleague Ravi Somaiya closes out his brief exclusive item with the lineage of this Taibbi allegory:

Mr. Taibbi is noted for capturing the spirit of the aftermath of the financial crisis with a series of articles in Rolling Stone that examined the misbehavior of Wall Street executives and the risky lending practices that led to a near collapse of the global economy. He used vivid writing and colorful language to describe the root causes of the crisis, including the now-famous metaphor he used to describe Goldman Sachs, calling the bank “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

First Look Media also, within the context of journalism, smells like money, as well as opportunity and integrity. At this stage of the print magazine game, it makes perfect sense for someone like Taibbi to take the plunge.

Update (February 20):
In an interview today with HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski, Taibbi brought up another funny aspect of the creature-of-the-sea legacy:

“I get people sending me squids in the mail. I get plush squid animals being sent to me at home. It just seems to follow me around – it’s fun.”

Watch the full interview here.

Taibbi has also posted his final RS “Taibblog” blog item, under the headline “Thank You, Rolling Stone.” A brief excerpt:

To be able to say you work for Rolling Stone, it’s a feeling any journalist in his right mind should want to experience. The magazine’s very name is like a magic word. I noticed it from the very first assignment. Even people who know they probably shouldn’t talk to you, do, once they hear you’re from the magazine Dr. Hook sang about. And if they actually see the business card, forget it. People will do anything to get into the magazine, to have some of that iconic cool rub off on them.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.